Jen is my homegirl from Philly, the most fabulous place on earth. Jen is a protégé of famed chef Eric Ripert, but apparently she didn’t listen to all his advice. Jen was all set to open a restaurant in Philly called Concrete Blonde, but her business partners pulled their investment because she wanted a little more equity in the business and they didn’t agree. Now Jen’s in restaurant limbo. Eric warned her, but Jen jumped the gun. Mentors are mentors for a reason!
No, not Mentos, mentors.
At a celebrity guest chef appearance at a friend’s restaurant in D.C., she creates a tasting menu of some of the food she’ll serve at Concrete Blonde. Um, her menu is strange. She’s serving Spanish rock octopus, rabbit ravioli, and olive oil sponge cake for dessert. Not exactly hometown food, Jen.
Cheesesteak + Pretzel = GENIUS.
Jen leaves Aspen to attend a wine and food festival in Charleston, then flies home and visits her parents. The upside to not opening a restaurant is that she can spend more time with her parents. Jen’s mom suffered a stroke and is paralyzed on her left side. She’s confined to her bed and Jen’s dad takes care of her full time. In spite of that, they are a loving and rather funny family. There is a very poignant scene where Jen takes her mom to the back deck so mom can practice walking.
Richard was the runner up of Season 4 and won Top Chef All Stars. He’s one of those “molecular gastronomy” chefs. I looked up the definition, and now my head hurts. It’s another upgraded reference – something about how when you mix two tastes together you get a new taste. Think of it as yellow + blue = green. New color!!
Molecular gastronomy at its finest. I think.
Richard also got into trouble when he “clashed with his previous investors over the menu”. Well, that was stupid. But Richard bounced back and is a partner and creative consultant in a modern hamburger restaurant called Flip Burger Boutique. It’s a little pretentious for me. No burger can be classified as “boutique”..
… unless you mean this.
Richard is juggling the opening of a new restaurant and his celebrity promotions with the demands of his beautiful wife and two children under 5, and he needs to be brilliant at both!! Not gonna happen, Richie. Not gonna happen. I tell you, the stress on his face melts through the screen. Writing about him is giving me a headache, so we’ll move on.
The quartet meets at the Aspen Food and Wine Festival, where our two Type A chefs, Jen and Richard, participate in many activities, Fabio markets his little butt off, and Spike gets other people to do his work, and schmoozes his way through the festival. There is a funny segment where 3 of the chefs participate in a 5K run. Richard criticizes his run, non-runner Jen muscles her way to the end, and Fabio manages to get his business partner to pull him in a wagon for the entire race. Richard calls him a media whore, but Fabio’s really media savvy. Where is Spike, you may ask?
You didn’t really think Spike was going to run, did you?